An important part of Frankfurt's institutional history: "Senckenberg" goes digital!

What is "The Digital Senckenberg Archive?"
Decentrally stored and centrally accessible - we present the Digital Senckenberg Archive! Within the framework of the DFG-funded collaborative project, a total of 20 collections with more than 370,000 pages by and about Johann Christian Senckenberg, housed in three central Frankfurt institutions, have been digitized by 2022. Jointly presented on an online platform run by the university library, they are for the first time freely and centrally accessible for all interested users.

The significance of Senckenberg in Frankfurt am Main
Right up to the present day, various city institutions of culture, science and public welfare include "Senckenberg" in their names, thus referring to the great legacy of the physician, benefactor and scholar Johann Christian Senckenberg (1707-1772). The so-called "Senckenberg collections” of the Institute for the History of Frankfurt and the Johann Christian Senckenberg University Library in Frankfurt am Main form in their entirety an indispensable historical source base for German city and university history, the history of science and medicine, as well as the development of the history of religion in Germany. They are regarded as key resources in German and international natural history research, but are also of considerable importance for a whole range of general scientific-historical enquiries. The Senckenberg collections, which focus on the period from the 19th to the mid-20th century, are exemplary for the development of our modern knowledge society. They are of supra-regional importance and provide insight into the dynamic development of modern scientific culture.

What does "The Digital Senckenberg Archive" consist of?
Most of the holdings of the Digital Senckenberg Archive are located in the University Library and the Institute for the History of Frankfurt. Since 2016, the Institute for the History of Frankfurt has also been in charge of the archive of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research.

The Digital Senckenberg Archive consists of:

  • the written estate of Johann Christian Senckenberg, the Frankfurt city physician who died in 1772, with partially transcribed handwritten diary entries.
  • the files of the Dr. Senckenberg Foundation
  • the extensive archive of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research
  • several personal estates.

These are all directly linked to the person of Senckenberg, the history of the Foundation and the Society.

The total volume of all 20 collections is ca. 373,000 pages. All documents are digitally indexed and accessible in Arcinsys and in Kalliope.

What are the terms of use?
The published digital copies of public domain holdings are openly available for unrestricted and free use. Public domain works are provided with a corresponding licence. You can find more information here: The public domain digital copies provided can be downloaded free of charge in both JPG and PDF formats.

The project team:

Die Projektteilnehmer

The Institute for the History of Frankfurt is one of the largest German municipal archives and looks back on a history of more than 580 years. In addition to the municipal records, which include such extraordinary items as the Frankfurt copy of the Golden Bull issued in 1366, it also preserves extensive collections from a wide range of provenances. You can find more information here:

With more than ten million media items, the University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main is one of the five largest university libraries in Germany. It was established in 2005 by merging the Municipal and University Library, in which several Frankfurt libraries had been merged after the Second World War (including the City Library, which had existed since the 15th century and the Rothschild Library) and the Senckenberg Library. You can find more information here:

The Senckenberg Nature Research Society (German: Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, until 2008 Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft) is a German scholarly society with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and member of the Leibniz-Society. Its purpose is to conduct research in the natural sciences and make the results of nature research available to the public. It shares the Senckenberg name with the Dr. Senckenberg Foundation, founded by Senckenberg in 1763, but is a separate organisation. The Senckenberg Nature Research Society owns several research institutes and museums, such as the Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Frankfurt am Main) and the Naturkundemuseum Görlitz.

All information is provided without guarantee of completeness or accuracy. It is the user’s responsibility to comply with copyright regulations in the event of further use. The institutions involved in the Digital Senckenberg Archive accept no liability for the unlawful use of digital documents or for damage caused by the use or absence of information from this service. This also applies to third-party content that can be accessed via this service. Users shall indemnify the operators of this platform and the owning institutions against any claims resulting from infringement of copyright or other intellectual property rights.